Delicious Argentinian pastries delivered to your door
Setting up her own online baking business was a gamble that has certainly paid off for this Argentinian mother-of-one who has made Edinburgh her home.
Barbara Funes took a leap of faith two-and-a-half years ago when she quit her office job to set up Zest Edinburgh and bake a range of delicious pastries from her home near The Grange.
Her online delivery service has gone from strength to strength during lockdown, helping homesick ex-pats get a taste of home as well as introducing locals to the sweet treats of Argentina.
And it’s showing no sign of slowing as restrictions are eased.
“When people ask why I do what I do, it’s because it connects people who couldn’t travel because of lockdown restrictions or illness,” says Barbara, who moved to Edinburgh 16 years ago.
“That for me is really fulfilling and really makes me happy – and that is why I get up at 5am to bake seven days a week!”
Zest Edinburgh delivers across the whole of the UK as well as to parts of Europe and it’s very much a personal service: Barbara shops for every ingredient, makes everything from scratch – apart from the dulce de leche, which is imported from Argentina - and makes all the local deliveries.
The sweet treats baked to order include alfajores de chocolate (sandwiched chocolate biscuits filled with dulce de leche and covered with chocolate), medialunas de manteca rellenas con crema pastelera (sweet crescents filled with custard) and mouth-watering arrollado con dulce de leche (milk toffee-filled Swiss rolls) among others.
Part of the company’s success has been word of mouth, both locally and on social media; a post shared on an Edinburgh lockdown Facebook page brought a much-needed surge of orders not long after restrictions were first introduced.
“I’ve faced challenges – when lockdown was announced, my business was just starting to grow slowly and then it just changed overnight,” she explains.
“But after someone mentioned my business on the Facebook group I started seeing orders coming in, and in just one hour I had 14 orders come in. I had requests to send all over the UK and to Europe, so I thought ‘right, I’m going to go for this’.
“Of course, I’ve made mistakes and I’ve learned from them, like remembering to order enough boxes to send it all out in! I’ve learned so much in the past year – I still have tonnes more to learn but the past year has been a real eye-opener.
“I’m truly amazed at the success but I must be doing something right as I’ve taken thousands of orders now. I would never in a million years have imagined that I could have done what I have done since last year.”
Now she’s looking to the future and keen to tell Scots with a sweet tooth about what Zest has to offer.
“I have been baking my entire life and always said I would never do it for a living because of the hours involved! And yes, it’s tiring but it was definitely the best decision I have ever made. I want to show my daughter that you should choose to work in something that makes you happy,” adds Barbara.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the business continue to grow and introducing even more local people to the pastries from my homeland.”
To order a selection of delicious fresh pastries for delivery to your door, visit www.zestedinburgh.co.uk